Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Astanga

Inhale...Chakrasana!

It only took one day of Mysore style practice to ditch the capris and fancy-schmancy yoga top in favour of my usual: spandex shorts and a sports bra (covered with a tank top, of course - no one needs to see my belly rolls). I thought I would be shy wearing those shorts in public, but no one is watching me (except the teacher and he’s just watching my transitions).

Besides, the whole Internet has seen me in my yoga shorts (via my weekly State-of-the-Backbend photos) so what am I being so shy about? Silly ego!

I was SO much more comfortable yesterday with less clothing to deal with. My Garba Pindasana was 100% better. Today I was grateful not to be wearing that heavy cotton-blend top because I was sweating buckets. This afternoon, I’ll stop by Old Navy and buy a few more of those tanks. I’m not a fashion plate yogini - I really don’t give a hoot what I look like. I just want to feel comfortable and be able to MOVE.

Today was the first day with the substitute teacher, M. He’s a friendly guy and I immediately felt at ease with him. His adjustments are different - some of them are more forceful and others are less. I like the fact that he offers some direction while assisting. I’ve never had some of these adjustments prior to this week, so I’m sometimes unsure where I’m supposed to be moving or releasing. The cues are very helpful to me.

He also told me: “You’re strong and flexible and light.” The last adjective was very satisfying. Bandhas are a bit ephemeral to me. I’m never sure if I’m doing them right or I’m doing them at all. It’s nice to get some feedback that my Bandhas are progressing. Yay, Bandhas!

I did some strategic eavesdropping while M was assisting another student with Chakrasana. The key points I picked up:
-The transition does require a bit of momentum. If your hips are up and you’re still not going over, you’re probably not going to.
-Legs come up at the same time as the arms come back; one movement!
-Even though it feels counterintuitive, it’s very important to inhale into the roll.

With these tips, I managed to complete all of my Chakrasanas (there were four) without assistance and on the last one, I landed in a very, very sloppy Chaturanga, balls of the feet on the floor. Hurrah!

I found that it was easier if I laid down, exhaled completely and then inhaled deeply as I lifted my legs and brought my arms back. And then, I visualized my bum filling with helium. Float, bum, float! And roll! :-D

I asked about the soreness in my neck and M laughed: “The soreness will move somewhere else” That’s so true! My neck already feels better today.

M also gave me some feedback on my jump-throughs. So far, I’ve been jumping into a seated position, crossed legs. He showed me how far my feet are actually off the ground and suggested that I maintain the lift, straighten my legs, and *then* lower to Dandasana. Yes! I can do this!

It’s such a relief to have a teacher offer feedback on where I *should* be, given my strength and flexibility. One of the tough things about home practice is all the guess work.

My jump-backs are also coming along. Of course, the blocks are history because there is no way I would be allowed to use them in the Shala (no party favours allowed!). But I’m now lifting as high without the blocks as I was when I was using them. Today, just once, I managed to bring my feet through my hands and jump back with just a little brush of the toes along my towel!

5 comments:

Moving Meditation said...

"The soreness will move somewhere else": oh, how I love this! It's so true!

I also enjoyed your post. I'm not that familiar with the Astanga style, but I recently had the opportunity to take a couple of workshops from David Swenson; as a result, I understood more of your post than I expected. I did, however, have to look up Chakrasana, and, well, I am absolutely amazed!

Selina said...

Hi there,

I've never commented before, but I love reading your blog! I've found that chakrasana is a lot easier if I point my toes and work my legs (especially hip flexors) like I do at the end of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, you're just holding the leg up, hands on hips. Also, once you've reached the 'point of no return', pushing down strongly with the arms like when you're going up in handstand or even into chaturanga from lying on your belly.

Hope this helps!

Selina

Grimmly said...

Big thing for me with chakrasana was keeping the chin tucked in tight and keeping it there no matter what, jalahandra bandha rocks.

patrick said...

Freakin' sweet--chakrasana is thine!

I don't find inhaling into the roll to be weird, and I'm also with Grim, jalandhara bandha, keeps the whole roll tight.

LadyRayCello said...

yay!
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